An Introduction to Metallurgical Laboratory Techniques

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Thermal Spray Coating Analysis. Trifolds Additive Manufacturing. The book discusses metallography, high temperature, heat treatment, and testing of materials. The text also describes vacuum techniques, powder metallurgy, and joining of metals.

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Imprint: Pergamon. Metallurgy , art and science of extracting metals from their ores and modifying the metals for use. Metallurgy customarily refers to commercial as opposed to laboratory methods. It also concerns the chemical, physical, and atomic properties and structures of metals and the principles whereby metals are combined to form alloys. The present-day use of metals is the culmination of a long path of development extending over approximately 6, years. It is generally agreed that the first known metals were gold , silver , and copper , which occurred in the native or metallic state, of which the earliest were in all probability nuggets of gold found in the sands and gravels of riverbeds.

Such native metals became known and were appreciated for their ornamental and utilitarian values during the latter part of the Stone Age. Gold can be agglomerated into larger pieces by cold hammering, but native copper cannot, and an essential step toward the Metal Age was the discovery that metals such as copper could be fashioned into shapes by melting and casting in molds; among the earliest known products of this type are copper axes cast in the Balkans in the 4th millennium bce.

Another step was the discovery that metals could be recovered from metal-bearing minerals. These had been collected and could be distinguished on the basis of colour, texture, weight , and flame colour and smell when heated. In order to effect the agglomeration and separation of melted or smelted copper from its associated minerals, it was necessary to introduce iron oxide as a flux.

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This further step forward can be attributed to the presence of iron oxide gossan minerals in the weathered upper zones of copper sulfide deposits. In many regions, copper-arsenic alloys, of superior properties to copper in both cast and wrought form, were produced in the next period.

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This may have been accidental at first, owing to the similarity in colour and flame colour between the bright green copper carbonate mineral malachite and the weathered products of such copper-arsenic sulfide minerals as enargite, and it may have been followed later by the purposeful selection of arsenic compounds based on their garlic odour when heated. Arsenic contents varied from 1 to 7 percent, with up to 3 percent tin. Essentially arsenic-free copper alloys with higher tin content—in other words, true bronze—seem to have appeared between and bce , beginning in the Tigris-Euphrates delta.

The discovery of the value of tin may have occurred through the use of stannite, a mixed sulfide of copper, iron, and tin, although this mineral is not as widely available as the principal tin mineral, cassiterite, which must have been the eventual source of the metal.

Cassiterite is strikingly dense and occurs as pebbles in alluvial deposits together with arsenopyrite and gold; it also occurs to a degree in the iron oxide gossans mentioned above.


While there may have been some independent development of bronze in varying localities, it is most likely that the bronze culture spread through trade and the migration of peoples from the Middle East to Egypt , Europe , and possibly China. In many civilizations the production of copper, arsenical copper, and tin bronze continued together for some time.

The eventual disappearance of copper-arsenic alloys is difficult to explain.